Be safer rather than silly this festive season!

It really is the most wonderful time of the year – sun, surf, sand, swimming and school holidays!

However, we simply cannot afford to become complacent – Royal Life Saving Australia research shows that Australians’ are twice more likely to drown on a public holiday than any other day of the year.

Holiday makers are at highest risk, being 2.5 times more likely to drown due to lack of knowledge and familiarly of the local waterways. Alcohol is a significant contributor to public holiday drowning deaths, and it’s men that are commonly susceptible to a higher risk, with the report showing men are four times more likely to drown than women. Let’s do all we can this summer to minimise the risks.

These are my top ten water safety tips for a happy holiday period:

1. Swimming lessons! Teach children to swim and continue to attend lessons regularly.
It may be tempting to drop lessons as life gets busy but until children reach their age
related milestones swimming lessons should remain non-negotiable. Be sure to
utilise all of the NSW Government vouchers currently available, such as the First Lap
and Active Kids Vouchers to ensure your child becomes a capable swimmer.
2. Avoid alcohol around water.
3. Check for snags and currents before entering inland waterways & rivers.
4. Know your limits and never swim alone, or when intoxicated.
5. Swim at patrolled beaches between the flags and learn how to spot rip currents.
6. Children under 5 should be arms reach at the beach, at the pool, and in every other
aquatic environment, always.
7. Fence the pool, checked and close all gates and make sure they are self-latching.
8. Be aware of other household items which represent a drowning risk, ie eskys,
inflatable pools, bathtubs, buckets, fishponds, even pet bowls. Children have
drowned in less water than a drink bottle can hold.
9. Make supervision of children the priority around all water – delegate a supervisor at
all events with the adults talking turns on rotation. Never assume someone else is
watching.
10. Learn how to perform CPR and use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator).

Drownings remain a risk at home, where we are often most relaxed and assume nothing bad will happen. Water safety crusader Laurie Lawrence has been in the media this past week reminding home owners to check pool fences and gates, and Royal Life Saving has developed a home pool safety checklist home owners can use to minimise the risks. You can find the checklist at: https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/programs/home-poolsafety/home-pool-safety-checklist

Wishing you a safe summer with your families